four female students studying together

Universities and colleges use institutional research (IR) to support decision making and planning. The field involves a number of functional areas in higher education, such as enrollment reporting, enrollment projections, retention, graduation, time-to-degree, student learning, student engagement, student satisfaction, instructional cost and productivity, faculty compensation, faculty and staff job satisfaction, faculty and staff turnover, campus climate, athletics, development, and space utilization.

Institutional researchers typically initiate and evaluate a variety of surveys as well as analyze data from student, human resources, and financial information systems. IR supports institutional and unit strategic planning, budgeting, accreditation, program review, and accountability efforts.

Successful institutional researchers must not only have excellent technical and analytical skills, but also knowledge of higher education management and a deep understanding of their institutions.

IR is a dynamic and fast-paced field with strong demand for skilled professionals.

Program Benefits

  • Most classes can be taken online to support working professionals looking to advance their careers.
  • Develop skills to support analytics with “Big Data” in higher education institutions.
  • You can take classes toward completion of the program while enrolled in other Ball State graduate degree programs, and you will be able to use several courses from those programs to fulfill the requirements of this certificate program.

Program Requirements

The program requires the completion of courses in research, statistics, and institutional research, along with a practicum or internship experience focused on institutional research.

Because students come from a variety of departments, this program is designed to allow students to complete the research methods, statistics course, and research/statistics elective requirements within their own disciplines. The various course options are given below in the course listing.

Credits Required

15 credits


The courses you will take include a total of five classes – and they can be customized to fit within other existing degree programs (examples follow):

  • an institutional research course (EDPS 602) – 3 credits
  • a research methods course (e.g, EDPS 640, PSY 680, SOC 600) – 3 credits
  • a statistics course (e.g. EDPS 641, EDPS 642, SOC 682) – 3 credits
  • an elective research methods or statistics course (e.g. EDPS 646, SOC 610, EDST 671) – 3 credits
  • a practicum or internship in institutional research (e.g. EDPS 692, SOC 588, PSY 686) – 3 credits

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, consult our Course Catalog/Graduate Catalog.

View Course Catalog

What Can You Do with a Certificate in Institutional Research?

You will be prepared for entry-level employment in institutional research. Completing this certificate along with a Master’s Degree in Quantitative Psychology in Educational Psychology can also increase the range of positions available in higher education institutions – including directors of assessment, assessment analysts, and other data-based decision-making positions in the field.

A few of the positions our alumni have include:

  • assistant research scientist 
  • associate director of strategic enrollment research 
  • coordinator of data/research analyst 
  • director of institutional research 
  • doctoral student 
  • enrollment analyst 
  • ethnographer
  • research and planning associate
  • senior associate director of residential life 
  • student success research analyst

A listing of current IR job postings is available from the Association for Institutional Research.

Paying for Your Education

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in our program? Then it’s time to apply! 

Apply Now


Do you want to learn more about our program or have questions about the application process or financial aid? We’re here to help!

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